If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Friday, 31 August 2012

... and Another Door Opens

In my last post, I talked about the reasons that made me decide to sell the Sprint and get something 'less'.  Some of you were kind enough to comment positively on my reasoning.  Well, thank you for that, but I am not sure you are right.  For all the justification, it was more of a gut feeling than anything else.  The bike was fast, far faster than I needed - where can you realistically use 155 mph on modern roads? - and far faster than was good for my licence and long-term health prospects.  It was heavy, top-heavy, and it had a poor steering lock.  The riding position was supremely comfortable, but the semi-crouch focused the mind on the tarmac rather then the journey.  In short, I always felt that the bike was dictating the terms, and it ought to be the other way round.

My local bike dealer had just gone into administration, so the avenue of a part-exchange against something different was not available any more.  So I put the bike on eBay.  I set a reserve of £2250 to insure against giving the thing away in a slow market, and settled down to watch the auction.  It made the princely sum of £1500 by the end, so no sale.  I put it on again with a buy-it-now price of £2450 and the 'make me an offer' option.  It ended a week later with no sale and no offers.  Not even silly ones.  I put it on for auction again and even removed the reserve price, but ... I get ahead of myself.

During this time I had been scanning the web for likely replacements and had called a number of traders.  None would offer more than £1200 for the bike - and that's in part-exchange against a more expensive bike, not the buy-in price.  The general message was that sports bikes, and sports-tourers like the Sprint, couldn't be given away.  No-one wanted them, and everyone wanted the kind of bike I was looking for.  Enough dealers said this to me that I think there must have been a grain of truth in it.  I was getting a bit disheartened.

In the listing, I stated that I was interested in a smaller, more versatile bike, and wondered if anyone had one they wished to sell to me, "all within eBay's rules, of course".  I was hoping someone would contact me and offer a trade.  On the very last day of the listing, about 9 hours before the auction closed (with over 100 watchers, and bids to £900 or so) I got a message from someone wanting to do a straight swap for his BMW F650GS.  That was a bike I had not considered.  I'm not a fan of the beaky, chunky big Beemers (to me they look all wrong), and I had transferred this attitude to any modern BMW.  But I asked him to send me a photo (we were on email, not eBay messages, by this time) and it looked good.

I spent the next hour frantically Googling anything I could find about the little GS.  Everything I read sounded positive, and when I got the details of the package from the other chap (basically, full BMW service history and a full set of BMW luggage) I decided to go for it.  We agreed he would Paypal me £50 as surety, I would pull the bike from the auction, and I would return him his £50 in cash when we exchanged.

The following Friday he rode it down from Shrewsbury in the lashing rain.  I liked it straight away, he loved the Sprint, and the deal was done.  Either he didn't know the value of what he had, or he was an extremely generous person, but the deal was very favourable to me.  The Sprint's market value was, by all accounts, around £1200.  I reckon the BMW is worth twice that, if not more.  Condition isn't perfect, but it's pretty good.  It has a full set of services stamped by a BMW main dealer, BMW panniers (including liners) and topcase, engine bars, hand guards, heated grips, tank bag, and a huge lever-arch folder full of receipts, old MoTs, the original owner's servicing and inspection records, and an official BMW compact disc with all the servicing schedules and procedures.  Oh, and a Haynes manual.  As this little lot was going to be my discretionary spending for the next year-and-a-half, I count myself very lucky to have landed this bike*.

I gave him the Sprint with a full tank of fuel to get him home, and he absolutely refused to take the £50 we had agreed.

I'm still pinching myself.

* The bike also came with an immobiliser fitted, of which more in another post.  Grrr.


  1. I hate the process of selling anything. It's a lot of time and agro, and too many crunchy little bits of disappointment. By the time you've spent all the money putting right all the little niggles and placing the adverts you can easily feel that you've fallen back in love with the now-perfect machine and not want to see it go.

    Perhaps the new owner of the Sprint has the same hatred for the selling process and preferred to take a lower value in exchange for less grief. Equally, maybe he's a reader who recognises that you've demonstrably looked after the bike. Maybe he believed the list prices for other Sprints and simply thought it was worth more than you did. Or hated that immobiliser but couldn't work out how to bin it.

    Stop peering at the mouth of that gift horse and accept that life has dealt you a decent bit of Karma for a change. It's not like you're not due some....

    1. Thanks, Mick. I shall hold that thought.

      You could be right about the PO. I have done the same in the past - taken a hit on the price just to be shot of the tedious and risky business of selling a vehicle.

  2. I have had vague waves of desire for the Sprint but couldn't bear to give up my Bonneville for a chance to ride 155 mph as it were. As it is your complaints mirror my fears so thats one fantasy put to bed. No Sprint for me, ever. Thanks for the insight.

    1. Happy to help, Conch. It was a fine bike, but not for me. It seems we have similar requirements.

  3. If both parties are happy it's a good deal!

  4. As Nikos says, all 'good' trading is a win-win for both parties.

    Things are only ever 'worth' what someone's prepared to pay for them.

    What's the value of a glass of water? Not much, in the wet UK this summer. But in the Sahara, if you've had nothing to drink for 3 days????

  5. 100 watchers = 99 other sellers!

  6. You're all quite right - value is whatever someone will pay. I still reckon I have the better of the deal, but ... who knows?

    99 other sellers is right! I keep a lot of things in my watch list that I have no intention of bidding for, and always assume that of every 10 watchers, probably only 1 is a serious buyer.

  7. I agree with Nikos. it sounds like it was a win win.

    I too am a firm believe that something is only worth what another is willing pay or trade for it. I think you did great and will be really happy with the BMW.


Comment is free, according to C P Scott, so go for it. Word verification is turned off for the time being. Play nicely.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...